Monday, July 11
Roast Fillet of Smoked Salmon, Beetroot, Chickpea & Parsley Salad, Creme Fraiche
It was great working at the pub this weekend as we sparked up the wood fired oven to cook a full menu for the first time. As usual the British weather gave us a scare with monsoon like conditions in the morning, however the day ultimately turned out sunny. I thought I would share with you a couple of the dishes we cooked - all are really easy, fresh, packed with flavour and are super colourful.
With smoked salmon, the fillet is usually cured in salt and sugar then either kiln roasted in a smoky environment to give hot smoked salmon, or cold smoked in a smoker where cold smoke is blown over the fish leaving the fillet preserved but effectively raw. Both these types you will find easily in the supermarket - hot roast is usually flaked, cold smoked is usually pre-sliced. What you need is a fillet of 'skin on' cold smoked fish before it is sliced. You should be able to get cold smoked salmon fillets fairly easily, we bought in whole sides of salmon from Dundry smokehouse - I know Waitrose sell them or ask your fishmonger. For four:
Smoked Salmon Fillets - 4x 125g
Beetroot, red gold and candy if you can get them - 1 bunch of red or 1kg mixed
Cooked Chickpeas - 2 tins
Flat Leaf Parsley - 1 large bunch, leaves picked from the stems.
Balsamic Vinegar, a good quality one
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Creme Fraiche - 1 small tub
Take off any leaves, stalks and roots from the beetroot, wash off any soil and boil in salted water until a knife easily penetrates the bulb. Drain and allow to cool until you can handle them. The skins should peel off very easily with just a gentle rub and use a knife to trim off the remainder of the stalks and cut into nice bite-sized wedges. While still hot, toss in equal quantities of olive oil, balsamic and honey and season to taste. You don't want gallons of dressing, just enough to glaze and flavour the beetroot with a little dressing left in the bottom of the bowl. This is a great tip here: dressing hot vegetables, grains and pulses results in much more flavour being absorbed from the dressing, give it a try with couscous, rice salads, quinoa, pasta salads etc.
Heat a good non stick frying pan. Oil and season the salmon with pepper and a little salt (remember the salmon has been cured so will be a little salty already). Sear the salmon fillets skin side down until the skin is crispy - 3 mins or so. Then flip and sear the other three sides of the fillets for 30 seconds on each side. This should result in a slightly rare fillet, if you like your salmon cooked through, cook for a minute or so longer. Remove from the pan and allow to rest while you finish the salad.
Tip the chickpeas into the beetroot bowl along with the picked parsley and toss about until everything is well coated in the dressing. Check the seasoning and adjust adding more oil, vinegar and honey if required. Plate and top with the cooked salmon fillets and a blob of creme fraiche.